Poetry. In the spirit of Michael Martone's "contributor note" essays, Sean Thomas Dougherty has created a book of responses written to his rejection letters. After a furious series of rejections from dozens of literary magazines, Dougherty had enough. He decided to fight back. Sean improvised in real time a series of epistolary public responses on Facebook over a six-month period that began Dear Editor. The edited result is this collection. But this book is less about the literary arts than it is about Dougherty's life, his family, friends, and the world of people struggling to live in the working-class cities and towns along Lake Erie. This book writes back against the world that says shut up, you are less than, you do not matter, you are poor, you are different. You are damaged. These pieces hope to connect across our shared failures. Editing is a tough job. We are all in some ways both submitters and gatekeepers as artists, even if only inside ourselves. In the end we are all failures. We are all witnesses for each other.
Sean Thomas Dougherty was born in New York City and grew up in Brooklyn, Ohio, and New Hampshire. He is the author or editor of eighteen books including ALL MY PEOPLE ARE ELEGIES: ESSAYS, PROSE POEMS AND OTHER EPISTOLARY ODDITIES (NYQ Books, 2019), NOT ALL SAINTS, winner of the 2019 Bitter Oleander Library of Poetry Award; ALONGSIDE WE TRAVEL: CONTEMPORARY POETS ON AUTISM (NYQ Books 2019) and All You Ask for is Longing: New and Selected Poems (BOA Editions 2014). His book The Second O of Sorrow (BOA Editions 2018) received both the Paterson Poetry Prize, and the Housatonic Book Award from Western Connecticut State University. His awards include the Twin Cities College Association Poet in Residence, a US Fulbright Lectureship to the Balkans, two Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowships in Poetry, and an appearance in Best American Poetry. He has worked in a newspaper plant, as an untenured college lecturer, and in a pool hall. He now works as a care giver and Med Tech for various disabled populations and lives with the poet Lisa M. Dougherty and their two daughters in Erie, Pennsylvania.Author City: ERIE, PA USA